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Thailand’s Luxury Tourism Boosted by the Middle East

Nadia Willlow  from Bangkok
Thailand’s Luxury Tourism Boosted by the Middle East.

From backpackers to flashpackers and the HNW luxury tourism market, Thailand captures the hearts and minds of tourists all over the world; and the Middle East is an important growing market as it pushes up the bar for quality and luxury tourism in Thailand. At the same time, Thai islands such as Phuket and Koh Samui, home to amazing luxury villas, are opening their doors to the Middle Eastern market, promising all that this discerning market desire; absolute privacy, personalised services, and fantastic facilities all set within stunning destinations with astounding views out over the Gulf of Thailand from Samui and Phuket’s Andaman Sea. Add to this an increasing number of flights from the Middle East into Bangkok and Phuket, and where there is a will there is a definite way.
The Growth of Middle Eastern Tourism in Thailand
In 2016, Thailand welcomed over 670K tourists from the Middle East, accounting for a 15% rise on the previous year and generating revenues of over USD $1.2 billion. This number is rising, and whilst the Middle Eastern markets are not the largest, the percentage increases year-on-year reveal an undeniable upward trend. Whilst Qatar saw a 12% increase over the same period, which is a big hike, visitors to Thailand from Saudi Arabia rose a staggering 72% between 2014-2016, making this the country with the highest growth in tourist arrivals.
Another important point, particularly in terms of quality tourism for Thailand and the luxury market is that the Middle Eastern region accounts for top spending too; particularly UAE, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia as well as Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar. Many travelers from the Middle East are medical tourists, seeking beauty and wellness treatments in Thailand, and this pushes arrival figures up enormously. 
These visitors, along with other Middle Eastern tourists in general, often want a high-end Thai vacation experience. The greater demand for luxury vacations in Thailand is met by companies such as The Luxury Signature, who specialize in luxury vacation villa rentals in Southeast Asia and focus particularly on Thailand’s much-loved islands of Phuket and Koh Samui. 
The Luxury Market in Thailand
Many Middle Eastern big spenders, along with their Chinese and Russian counterparts, want unique stays rather than cookie-cutter resorts, as well as fantastic facilities and incredible design features. Another aspect of this growing niche Thai travel market that is attracting Middle Eastern tourists is the sheer size of villas on offer; perfect for extended family holidays, often favored by this market.
Founder and CEO at The Luxury Signature, Sylvain Roullier highlights the appeal of Thailand’s island vacation villas. “Aside from the fact that Thailand is easy to reach from the Middle East and promises year-round sunshine and an incredible lifestyle, it is also a Muslim-friendly destination too. On top of this, staying in a luxury villa promises you the freedom to relax as if you were staying in your own private resort, which essentially you are. From private dining to infinity pools, games rooms and cinemas, as well, of course, your own in-villa butler, not to mention panoramic vistas and state-of-the-art technology, luxury villas are spectacularly glamorous holiday homes; appealing greatly to the luxury Middle-Eastern markets.”
Spotlight on Luxury Thai Island Villas
Phuket is Thailand’s largest and most popular island. However, whilst there are definite tourist hubs, the maturity of tourism on the island means the luxury villa market is quite developed too. Vacation properties take pride of place in the most desirable locations, such as along the western sunset coastline, also known as Millionaire Mile; peaceful enclaves looking out over turquoise waters beyond dramatic white-sand beaches. 
Phuket is also a gourmet-dining destination too, and home to 5-star restaurants that rival those in Bangkok and beyond, as well as attracting watersport-fans. The island is also a haven for families with lots of attractions and activities. 
Dream Vacation Villas:
Villa Amarapura, comes with two infinity pools and five staff and is a chic, glamorous and comfortable retreat on secluded Cape Yamu and even comes with its own villa putting green.
Villa Analaya, on Phuket’s Millionaire Mile is right by a beautiful beach, ideal for relaxed family holidays yet close to the action of Patong, with six bedrooms set in five individual pavilions for maximum privacy, and a private chef too.
Villa Paradiso, just a 10-minute drive from the airport, is a contemporary villa beauty set on a hilltop, big enough for 10 guests, with uninterrupted panoramic views of the beachfront, sea set on an exclusive private estate. 
Villa Sawarin, with an incredible nine bedrooms, is set in three acres of lawns and botanical gardens, with a putting green for golfers, amazing views of Phang Nga Bay, and an in-villa spa with a beach house and golden-sand beach just beyond the villa gardens.
Koh Samui 
Koh Samui is Thailand’s third largest island, yet still retains an air of laid-back glamour and effortless beach beauty, making it a wonderfully tranquil island stay; where visitors can still find secluded beachfronts. Less developed than Phuket, Samui still boasts some wonderful dining experiences, yet its true beauty is really in its gorgeous beaches and its marine adventures, such as exploring the Ang Thong National Marine Park with its 42 iconic islands. 
Dream Vacation Villas:
Villa Akatsuki, combines Thai and Japanese style to create a mesmerizing villa as close as can be to the white sands on Samui’s beautiful west coast, with three cascading infinity pools on different levels, five suites catering for 15 guests, and seven in-villa staff. 
Villa Anavaya, is a modern wonder, where the gorgeous infinity pool feels as if it is stretching out to touch the blue sea in Samui’s quiet north-east, close to Fisherman’s Village, with panoramic views and a 90-sqm master bedroom. 
Villa Sangkachai, a four-bedroom contemporary clifftop retreat on the north-eastern coast, boasts an extraordinary L-shaped infinity pool and a grassy rooftop with amazing 360-degree views and a BBQ grill, plus an in-villa cinema with red-carpet stairs and vintage movie posters and an outdoor Japanese-style sunken dining table. 

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